Facebook Reactions: The Good, the Bad, and the Grey Area.

Posted on January 12th, 2016 by True Media

The internet has won—kind of.

After years of demanding the Like button to evolve, Facebook has finally answered with Facebook Reactions. Not quite the dislike button many had all wished for, but reactions will allow users to do just what it sounds like—react.

The strip of emojis that appear when hovering over the Like button are a way to give users an opportunity to quickly respond to posts in different ways:

  • Like—if you want to stay original.
  • Love—favorite band going on tour? You can “love” it!
  • Haha—covering all those dad jokes and funny videos you see.
  • Yay—for the congratulations moments.
  • Wow—you can use this for the odd news stories on your feed.
  • Sad—for the posts that might be too morbid or awkward to like.
  • Angry—mad about a post or story you saw? Facebook now has a button for that.

Facebook reactions demoMark Zuckerberg and his Facebook team have researched tirelessly to comprise these seven options they believe are most relevant to users. The Facebook CEO says the Reactions feature will allow people using the platform to express empathy more effectively to what they see on their feed. The Facebook algorithm tends to surface posts that have the most engagement— posts with the most likes being the prominent factor, along with comments and time spent on post. The problem however: people find it odd or disrespectful liking sad or mean posts, but they still want to react to it. Enter: Facebook Reactions. On paper, it seems that this is the answer to having the best-tailored Facebook experience for each individual user. Like all things different, there has been a divide within the internet community about the changes that are currently making their global debut in Ireland and Spain.

Some think it will become shorthand (as if we needed more) to communicating with our peers on Facebook. The “sorry for your loss” comments turn into simply pressing the sad button, or the “man races a tiger and wins” posts, will just simply get a Wow button push.

Some also believe it’s an open door for cyberbullies and crude sarcasm. If a user comes across a post their enemy has created, they can hit the Angry button as a mode of intimidation. Or if you see another post about what someone ate for lunch, the Wow button could be intended as a sarcastic reaction to a mundane post.

This is all grey area, where most of the internet has lived since its creation. Most social media websites (Buzzfeed, Tumblr, Reddit) have moved to a more interactive feedback system, it was only a matter of time before Facebook joined the ranks. Only time will tell how the feature will resonate with users. The idea is a step in the right direction—Zuckerberg wants Facebook Reactions to be an opportunity for more effective expression among its users along with more receptive engagement through all types of Facebook accounts.  

We asked, we pestered, we made memes…and we got what we thought what we wanted. Change is coming; a more interactive social media experience is coming. Are you ready?  Let us know how you feel about the likely change in Facebook’s like buttons!